Macromedia has provided web users with an easy way to create or maintain online content with the release of Contribute 1.0.
Installation is quick and easy with a wizard to guide you through setting up your connection (FTP or LAN). If you are the administrator you will then set up the privileges for other user groups and send them a connection “key”; if you are a user, you will simply double-click your key to finish setting up.
The administrator can determine which areas of a site are accessible to particular user groups, and can also determine the extent to which they can edit pages, from full access to CSS styles, images and tables, to just text-only editing. And of course it has a special relationship with Macromedia Dreamweaver, respecting all its template settings.
Once set up it’s a simple matter of using the browser-like interface to connect to the site and locate a page. Clicking the “Edit” button opens a draft copy for editing, which can be saved offline if required. Microsoft Word and Excel content can easily be placed with formatting intact. Once editing is complete, the “Publish” button saves the file to the site.
Contribute makes collaboration easy, automatically eliminating version conflicts by “Checking Out” files while they are being edited, and saving rollback versions on the server should any problems occur.
Contribute joins the multitude of tools for content management, many server-based examples of which can cost thousands of dollars. Other easy-to-use client apps run the risk of damaging the site code.
This one is ideal for a site that consists of static pages, but may not be so if your site is dynamic and uses databases extensively. In that case it would only be useful for static content, but it will protect server code on dynamic pages and not break application-server functionality.
For many site designers, particularly those using Dreamweaver, who find it uneconomical to be fussing over minor edits, this tool is a must for their clients.
Contribute is only available for Windows at present, but an OS-X version is expected soon. A 30-day trial is available for download here. Contribute costs $US146.
Canning is an Auckland designer.